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Oxfam reaction to France’s support of IP waiver for COVID vaccines

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In response to the announcement today from French President, Emmanuel Macron, that France will support a temporary waiver on Intellectual Property for COVID-19 vaccines, tests and treatments, Oxfam’s Health Policy Manager, Anna Marriott, said:

“It is fantastic news that President Macron has joined US President Biden on the right side of history by supporting the calls from India and South Africa, as well as millions of people around the world, for a temporary waiver of intellectual property for COVID vaccines, tests and treatments.

“At this critically important G7 summit it has never been more urgent for Prime Minister Boris Johnson and other leaders to do the right thing and stop putting the profits of pharmaceutical companies before the good of humanity.

“It doesn’t make sense for the entire world to be dependent on just a handful of pharmaceutical corporations that cannot make enough vaccines for everyone. Many of the world’s poorest countries are solely reliant on doses via the COVAX scheme, but its stocks are empty and it has so far reached only one per cent of the billions of people it was set up to help. Meanwhile, COVID cases are surging across Africa.

“However many millions of doses G7 leaders pledge to donate to COVAX, there will only ever be enough if more vaccines are being produced and the way to do that is to share the intellectual property and the technology.

“Developing countries do not want to be dependent on donations of leftover vaccines from rich nations, most of which won’t even be given until next year. They simply want the rights and the recipes to make these vaccines themselves as fast as possible and this is what must be agreed at the G7 summit this week.”

Ends

For more information, or to arrange an interview please contact the Oxfam Press Office on: 07748 761999 or email media.unit@oxfam.or.uk

Notes to editors:

  • Oxfam is part of the People’s Vaccine Alliance, a movement advocating that COVID-19 vaccines are manufactured rapidly and at scale, as global common goods, free of intellectual property protections and made available to all people, in all countries, free of charge.
  • Earlier this morning, the European Parliament also supported an amendment calling for Europe to support the temporary suspension of intellectual property rules for Covid-19 vaccines, tests, and treatments.
  • The TRIPs waiver was tabled by South Africa and India in October 2020 to boost vaccine supplies and other COVID-19 health technologies globally. In May the US joined over 100 other countries and backed this waiver for the vaccines.
  • According to latest World Health Organisation data, Africa has seen a 25 per cent increase in COVID cases in the past week: https://www.who.int/publications/m/item/weekly-epidemiological-update-on-covid-19---8-june-2021
  • On vaccine capacity in developing countries: India already produces 60 percent of the world’s vaccines and just over a fifth of the world’s COVID-19 vaccines to date, yet only a handful of the country’s 20 plus vaccine manufacturers are currently involved in COVID-19 vaccine production. The Director General of the World Trade Organization, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has also reported that the governments of Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia, South Africa and Senegal have all said that they have facilities that could possibly be retooled to produce coronavirus vaccines.

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